POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 69: “COMPLETE AND ONGOING MELTDOWN”

Week 68 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

March 3, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-68-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a3c0728c9376

This was Trump’s worst week since taking office. So far.

This week Trump lost loyalist Hope Hicks, and along with the broadening and deepening Trump-Russia probe, Trump became even more unhinged, angry and erratic, deciding by midweek he would ignore all experts and party loyalists and unilaterally act — first on gun control, which he retracted a day later, and then imposing tariffs, again against the counsel of all around him. Also striking out at and threatening to fire or push out almost everybody left in leadership in his shrinking regime, including his son-in-law and daughter, while low and mid-level staffers raced for the exits.

The length of this list will stand testament to what it felt like to live in America this week. Trump’s daily rages and outrageous, puerile, unpredictable behavior have stunned our country and the world. There is almost no aspect of Trump or his White House operating with a semblance of what have been our democratic norms, or a sense of order and balance. Complete, and ongoing meltdown.

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Artist: Chip Southworth. Jacksonville, Florida. 26feb18
  1. The Trump campaign used a photo of a 17-year-old Parkland survivor surrounded by her family in a hospital room in an email sent Saturday soliciting donations for the campaign.
  2. On Saturday, at CPAC, columnist Mona Charen criticized the “hypocrites” in the GOP for being silent about sexual harassers and abusers of womenwho are in the party. Charen was booed and had to be escorted out.
  3. On Saturday, tentative plans for Mexican President Peña Nieto to make his first visit to the White House were canceled after a testy call with Trump in which Trump refused to publicly affirm that Mexico won’t pay for his wall.
  4. Roberta Jacobson, US ambassador to Mexico, quit amid tense relations with Trump. Jacobson was one of the most experienced Latin America experts in the State Department, with 31 years of experience in the region.
  5. Numerous colleges sent emails and tweets to students and parents advising high schoolers that getting suspended for being involved in protests on gun control will not hurt them in the admissions process.
  6. On Saturday, House Democrats released a 10-page rebuttal to the Nunes memo, redacted over a two week period by the FBI, countering claims that top FBI and DOJ officials abused their power spying on Carter Page.
  7. The memo said Page was interviewed by the FBI “multiple times about his Russian intelligence contacts” in March 2016, the same month he joined the Trump campaign. The FBI originally took interest in Page in 2013.
  8. The memo also says the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Russian election interference began on July 31, and by September 2016the bureau had numerous “sub-inquiries” into Trump campaign associates
  9. Contrary to the Nunes memo’s accusation, the FBI received the dossier in September 2016, so the dossier played no role in the FBI’s initial probe.
  10. The October 2016 surveillance warrant application against Page, as well as the three subsequent renewals, were approved by federal judges appointed by Republicans. The court knew who paid for the dossier.
  11. The memo also says Russian agents previewed their hack and dissemination of stolen emails to George Papadopoulos. Shortly after, Trump said publicly that Russia would be richly rewarded for releasing the emails.
  12. On Saturday, after the memo was released, Trump took to Twitter, tweeting the Democratic memo is “a total political and legal BUST,” and “FBI did not disclose who the clients were” — which is false.
  13. Trump’s Twitter rant coincided with Fox News programming. He tweeted the Russia investigation is a “Witch Hunt” and parroted a line on Fox News, “Russians had no compromising information on Donald Trump.”
  14. Trump partially quoted a Fox News anchor in a tweet, but omitted five words, changing the meaning: “Congressman [Adam] Schiff, he argues the Republican memo omitted and distorted key facts,” was changed to, “Congressman Schiff omitted and distorted key facts.”
  15. On Saturday evening, Trump made an unscheduled appearance on Jeanine Pirro’s show, calling Democrats sore losers, the memo “a very bad document for their side” and attacking Rep. Schiff, referring him “a bad guy.”’
  16. NYT reported that Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the chair and top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, demanded a meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan last month after learning Rep. Devin Nunes had leaked Warner’s private texts.
  17. The texts were between Warner and Adam Waldman, a Russian-connected lawyer in an effort to arrange a meeting with Christopher Steele. Fox News, Trump and others used the texts in an effort to discredit Warner in Week 65.
  18. Trump said Saturday he would like a military parade “with a lot of plane flyovers” to be held in Washington DC on Veterans Day, adding we’ll see if we can do it at a “reasonable cost,” but “the generals would love to do it.”
  19. On Sunday, China’s Communist Party abolished term limits, clearing the way for President Xi to stay in power indefinitely. Neither the State Department nor Trump had a statement to this surprising move.
  20. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump talks privately about executing all big drug dealers. According to a source, Trump admires the Chinese and Filipinos who don’t have drug problem, because “they just kill them.”
  21. NYT reported the Norwegian Nobel Committee has uncovered what appears to be two forged nominations of Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. The matter has been referred to the Oslo police for investigation.
  22. On Monday, a new CNN poll found Trump’s approval was down to 35%, matching the low point. Trump’s disapproval stood at 58%.
  23. An AP-NORC poll found 57% of adults think Trump is racist, including more than 8 in 10 blacks and three-quarters of Hispanics.
  24. A report released by the Urban Institute found in 2019 6.4 million fewer Americans will have health insurance as a result of the GOP eliminating the individual health care mandate, and other policy changes by Trump.
  25. On Monday, the ACLU sued the Trump regime for unlawfully separating a Congolese woman from her 7-year-old daughter by holding them in far apart immigration facilities, after they sought asylum four months ago.
  26. On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected the regime’s request to speed up the legal fight over protections for Dreamers, removing some of the urgency for Congress to craft a legislative fix for DACA.
  27. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled immigrants can be held by US immigration officials indefinitely without receiving bond hearings, a blow to immigrant advocates who asked for a six-month maximum period.
  28. BuzzFeed reported Scott Lloyd, head of Trump’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, said under deposition that he does not believe undocumented immigrants have the constitutional right to an abortion “because of their immigration status.”
  29. ProPublica obtained chat logs of Atomwaffen, a white supremacist group, revealing they celebrated the fatal stabbing of a 19-year-old gay and Jewish University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein by Samuel Woodward, an avowed neo-Nazi.
  30. On Tuesday, a report released by the Anti-Defamation League showed anti-Semitic activity shot up 57% in 2017 (1,986 incidents), the largest single-year increase since the organization started tracking data in the 1970s.
  31. On Monday, in a rebuke to Jeff Sessions, a federal court ruled that a 1964 civil rights law bans workplace discrimination against LGBTQ individuals: “sexual orientation discrimination constitutes a form of discrimination.”
  32. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expressed solidarity in a statement with “Last Men in Aleppo” producer Kareem Abeed, who was denied a visa to attend the Academy Awards due to Trump’s travel ban.
  33. On Tuesday, the faculty at Lehigh University voted to rescind Trump’s honorary degree bestowed on him in 1988. Last October, the Lehigh board was presented a petition signed by 35,000, but took no action.
  34. On Tuesday, NYT reported Housing and Urban Development officials spent $31,000 on a new dining room set for Secretary Ben Carson in late 2017, at the same time as the agency proposed cuts to programs for the homeless, elderly, and poor.
  35. On Thursday, CNN reported Carson plans to cancel the order, saying “I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered,” adding he will find other options, perhaps used furniture.
  36. On Thursday, Equifax announced an additional 2.4 million customers had their information breached in a hack. In Week 65, acting director Mick Mulvaney said he would pull back on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s investigation of Equifax.
  37. WSJ reported Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked UCLA not to post a video of his recent public appearance where he was repeatedly heckled by students. Marketplace did post the audio and transcript of the event.
  38. On Monday, Politico reported Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency has experienced a surge in open records lawsuits due to lack of transparency: 55 FOIA requests have been filed since Trump took office, compared to 11 in Obama’s final year.
  39. On Monday, Pruitt’s EPA announced a reorganization in which the National Center for Environmental Research, best known for studying the effects of chemicals on children, will no longer exist, but will merge with other groups.
  40. On Tuesday, Trump directed the EPA to roll back the Obama-era Waters of the United States rule, a sweeping clean water rule viewed as one of Obama’s signature environmental legacies.
  41. On Thursday, bowing to widespread criticism, Pruitt said he would fly coach, despite “unprecedented” threats against him. In Week 67, Rep. Trey Gowdy asked Pruitt’s office for waivers that would allow Pruitt to fly first class.
  42. Politico revealed tapes of Pruitt on talk radio in 2005. He dismissed evolution as unproven theory, said majority religions were under attack, and said the Constitution should be amended to ban abortion and gay marriage.
  43. Politico reported former head of the Federal Railroad Administration Heath Hall’s side gig as a public relations consultant was far more extensive than previously reported, including communicating with county officials on PR work and regularly sending invoices.
  44. Axios reported Trump has put his personal pilot, John Dunkin, on the short list to head the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency has a budget of over $16 billion, 45,000 employees, and oversees all US civil aviation.
  45. On Friday, Trump tapped Peter Wright, a corporate lawyer at Dow Chemical since 1999, to run an EPA office which oversees emergency response to hazardous spills and cleanups of the nation’s most toxic sites.
  46. On Monday, in a meeting with national governors, Trump said he would have rushed in to Parkland high school if a shooting was happening, adding “I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon.”
  47. Trump added at the meeting he was misunderstood, and doesn’t want to arm all teachers, rather only the teachers with “natural talent,” comparing it to “hitting a baseball, or hitting a golf ball, or putting.”
  48. WSJ reported the White House legal team is considering ways Trump could testify before Robert Mueller, providing questions are limited in scope and don’t test Trump’s recollections in ways that could trap him into perjuring himself.
  49. NYT reported Mueller’s team has requested and received documents from Skadden on its Ukraine work, beyond Alex van der Zwaan. Skadden also does work for Russian oligarchs and companies with close ties to Putin.
  50. On Tuesday, the Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust filed paperwork with the IRS and registered in Delaware as a political committee to help defray the legal costs of “eligible persons” involved in the Russia investigation.
  51. Questions remain about the vetting of donors, transparency on contribution amounts, and how the funds will be allocated. WAPO counts at least 48 staffers who have given interviews to Mueller and/or Congress.
  52. ABC News reported Michael Flynn has said he will not accept support from the fund. Flynn will also not accept funds from “Trump, the Trump Organization, or the campaign.” Others have yet to publicly respond.
  53. On Tuesday, in the UK, MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee grilled Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, over the company’s role in the US election and Brexit. Nix denied any wrongdoing.
  54. On Tuesday, NBC News that reported US intelligence developed substantial evidence that Russia compromised seven states before the 2016 presidential election, but the states were not notified.
  55. Russian breaches of the seven states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin — range from entry into state websites to penetration of actual voter registration databases.
  56. Not until September 2017, Week 45, did the Department of Homeland Security contact all states, letting 21 of them know they were targeted by Russia and some attacks were successful. The DHS informed them and the media on a Friday evening.
  57. On Tuesday, when asked by Sen. Jack Reed at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, National Security Agency chief Mike Rogers testified he has not been formally asked by Trump to take steps to disrupt Russian election hacking activity.
  58. Rogers added when asked if Russia is seeking to interfere still, “I believe they are attempting to undermine our institutions.” Press secretary Sarah Sanders said there could be action in the “coming weeks and months.”
  59. On Wednesday, CNN reported Mueller’s team has been asking witnesses about Trump’s business activities in Russia in the time prior to his announcement that he would run for president in 2016.
  60. Questions include when Trump became serious about running and how it coincided with his business ventures, centering on the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and discussions to brand a Trump Tower Moscow.
  61. Trump’s lawyers told the Senate Judiciary Committee he made $12.2 million and a “substantial portion” came from the Miss Universe pageant. Mueller also wants to know if Trump’s meetings with Russian government and business could have resulted in possible “kompromat.”
  62. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that regulator New York State Department of Financial Services requested information from Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank, and New York Community Bank on their lending relationships with Jared Kushner.
  63. On Wednesday, NYT reported Kushner’s family real estate got loans from Apollo and Citigroup shortly after executives from those companies met with Kushner at the White House, in his capacity as a White House official.
  64. Apollo lent $184 million in November to refinance a skyscraper in Chicago, triple the size of the average Apollo property loan. Apollo advised the Trump regime on infrastructure and Joshua Harris, a founder of Apollo who met with Kushner, discussed a possible White House position.
  65. Citigroup lent the family and one of its partners $325 million to finance office buildings in Brooklyn. The loan was made in the spring of 2017, shortly after Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat met with Kushner at the White House.
  66. On Friday, AP reported that the SEC dropped its inquiry into Apollo’s loan to Kushner late last year. The SEC declined to comment on why they had halted the investigation.
  67. On Wednesday, NBC News reported Mueller’s team is asking witnesses pointed questions about whether Trump knew in advance Democratic emails had been stolen and that WikiLeaks planned to publish the emails.
  68. Mueller’s team has been questioning on a news conference Trump held on July 27, 2016, days after WikiLeaks began publishing the emails, when he said “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
  69. At this same time, Trump said he said he was open to lifting sanctions on Russia and possibly recognizing its annexation of Crimea in Ukraine, an unusual position for a Republican and not popular with the base.
  70. Witnesses were asked if Trump knew John Podesta had been targeted, if Trump was advised to make the statement about emails from someone outside his campaign, and if Trump tried to coordinate the release to damage Hillary.
  71. Witnesses are also being asked about Roger Stone’s contacts with WikiLeaks during the campaign and if he’s ever met with Julian Assange, and whether this was part of a larger plot.
  72. On Tuesday, The Atlantic revealed a screenshot of private Twitter messages between Stone and WikiLeaks. Stone told the House Intelligence Committee in September he had communicated with WikiLeaks via an “intermediary.”
  73. On Wednesday, in an interview on CNN, Republican Rep. Tom Rooney, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, called for the committee to end its Russia investigation, saying “because I don’t think it’s appropriate.”
  74. On Thursday, Putin unveiled a new array of nuclear-capable weapons which he claimed renders defenses “useless.” Trump has yet to acknowledge or speak out against Russian interference in our election.
  75. Putin also boasted about Russia’s military might with a video which show nuclear warheads raining down on what appears to be an outline of Florida, home of Trump’s winter White House, Mar-a-Lago.
  76. On Thursday, Rick Gates told a federal court that he and his wife believe it’s “not prudent” to travel to Boston with their children for a family vacation after feeling threatened by an online commenter invoking Russian mafia.
  77. The DOJ’s inspector general is expected to criticize former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe for authorizing the disclosure of information about a continuing investigation into Hillary and Obama’s DOJ to journalists, giving Trump further reason to condemn McCabe, even though McCabe’s revelations were not about Trump.
  78. On Wednesday, Paul Manafort was arraigned in Washington DC, where he pleaded not guilty to a revised, five-count indictment. Manafort was set to be arraigned in Alexandria on Friday to 18 new and modified charges, but the hearing was postponed due to weather.
  79. ABC7 in Chicago reported that records relating to Stephen Calk’s $16 million in loans to Manafort described in Week 67 have been subpoenaedby his wife’s attorney in divorce court.
  80. On Thursday, CNN reported FBI counterintelligence officials are investigating Ivanka’s involvement with the negotiations and financingsurrounding Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver.
  81. The development opened in February 2017, just after Trump took office, and was done with Joo Kim Tiah, a member of one of Malaysia’s wealthiest families. It is unclear whether Mueller is interested in this deal.
  82. On Thursday, NBC News reported Mueller is building a case for criminal charges against Russians who hacked and leaked DNC and Podesta emails in order to hurt Democrats in the 2016 election.
  83. The leak of the emails through WikiLeaks was cited by Trump at least 145 times during the campaign. Indictments would delve into the details of, and the people behind, the Russian intelligence operation to hack emails.
  84. On Friday, NBC News reported Mueller’s team is investigating whether Kushner’s business discussions with foreign officials during the transitionshaped White House policies to benefit or retaliate against people he spoke with.
  85. Mueller’s team has asked witnesses about Kushner’s efforts to secure financing for his family’s real estate transactions, and discussions with individuals from Qatar, Turkey, Russia, China, and the UAE.
  86. Kushner’s family reached out to a Qatar sovereign fund about investing in troubled 666 Fifth Avenue. Kushner also held a meeting in December 2016in Trump Tower with the former PM of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim (HBJ).
  87. After talks with the fund and HBJ collapsed, the White House backed a punishing blockade against Qatar lead by Saudi Arabia and UAE. Qatari government officials claim to have evidence of Saudi Arabia and UAE coordinating with Kushner, but have not yet turned it over to Mueller.
  88. Mueller’s team also has reached out for information on Kushner to Turkish nationals through the FBI’s legal attache office in Ankara. It is unclear if Mueller has reached the Turkish nationals, and what is under scrutiny.
  89. On Friday, WAPO reported the payment to Stephanie Clifford took place on October 27, 13 days after the initial deadline after the deal fell apart and then came together again, as more women were coming forward.
  90. That the payment was made just 12 days before the election could impact two complaints filed with the FEC which argue that the payment was intended to influence the election and violated campaign finance law.
  91. NPR reported Russian politician Alexander Torshin has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the NRA over six years in an effort to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into US politics.
  92. In Week 62, McClatchy reported the NRA had funneled $30 million to the Trump campaign. In a letter to Ron Wyden of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the NRA denied wrongdoing and said the FBI is investigating Torshin, not the NRA.
  93. On Monday, the Trump Organization said it has donated the hotel profits from foreign governments to the US Treasury, but declined to identify the foreign customers or the amounts.
  94. On Monday, when asked about Trump’s sexual misconduct in an interview with NBC News, Ivanka said “I believe my father, I know my father. So I think I have that right as a daughter to believe my father.”
  95. On Monday, Melania parted ways with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who was working as an unpaid senior adviser to the First Lady, amid backlashon Winston Wolkoff’s $26 million inauguration contract.
  96. On Tuesday, Trump’s White House finally began the process of responding to petitions on their website with over 100,000 signatures. Only a few petitions gained a response including a request not to defund the National Endowment for the Arts.
  97. On a petition with 1.1 million signatures requesting that Trump release his tax returns, the White House answered no, saying “this petition is not within the scope of the Terms of Participation of We the People.”
  98. WAPO reported on lingering questions on how Melania was able to obtain a green card in the elite EB-1 program, typically reserved for the likes of renowned academics, multinational business executives, or Olympians.
  99. Melania was also then in a position to sponsor US residency for her parents. Trump has proposed ending the sponsorship of relatives, tweeting “CHAIN MIGRATION must end now!” saying relatives “can be truly evil.”
  100. On Saturday, AP reported Trump officials were fighting efforts to be physically evicted from the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Pamana they manage. The owner claims the Trump name is hurting business.
  101. Orestes Fintiklis, who owns the property, filed termination notices for Trump management. Witnesses told AP Trump officials were seen carrying files to an office where the sounds of a shredding machine could be heard.
  102. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Panamanian police handcuffed a security guard working for Trump, who was detained for denying officers access to hotel offices. Physical altercations between security guards continued.
  103. The Panamanian Labor Ministry is investigating whether Trump employees have disregarded lawful orders from their employer. Trump and US officials have not made any public statements about the situation.
  104. On Tuesday, breaking a three day silence, Trump tweeted about the Russia investigation, calling it a “WITCH HUNT,” again included commentary from Fox News, and adding Hillary should investigated for “criminality.”
  105. On Tuesday, Trump tapped Brad Parscale, digital media director of his 2016 campaign, to run his re-election bid. The news was first reported by The Drudge Report. Experts noted the announcement came unusually early.
  106. AP reported Parscale sold his company, Giles-Parscale, in August for $9 million to CloudCommerce Inc., which is listed as a penny stock. In 2006, the CEO of CloudCommerce was caught trying to bribe a FBI agent.
  107. On Tuesday, Politico reported White House aides working on the highest-level interim clearances were notified last Friday in a memo that their clearance would be downgraded to the Secret level.
  108. Kushner is among the officials who lost access to Top Secret/SCI-level(sensitive compartmented information) information, who will no longer be able to see presidential daily briefs or have unfettered access.
  109. On Tuesday, WAPO reported four Commerce Department appointees lost their security clearance over issues with background checks. CNN noted the White House chief calligrapher has a higher security clearance than Kushner.
  110. Bloomberg reported more than 30 Trump aides were downgraded to lower-level “secret” interim security clearances. None have yet been asked to leave, but their portfolios on top secret matters will be redistributed.
  111. Sen. Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called for answers from the WH and the FBI on how several of these staffers, including Kushner, had access to the highly classified President’s Daily Brief.
  112. On Tuesday, WAPO reported officials in at least four countries have discussed ways to manipulate Kushner by taking advantage of his complex financial dealings, liquidity issues, and lack of foreign policy experience.
  113. The four countries are the UAE, China, Israel, and Mexico; but it is unclear if any acted on their discussions. Mueller has asked what protocols Kushner used to set up conversations with foreign leaders.
  114. Sources say H.R. McMaster learned that Kushner had contact with foreign officials that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report. White House officials were concerned Kushner was “naive and being tricked.”
  115. McMaster learned about Kushner’s contacts at daily intelligence briefings, where reports of foreign officials talking about their meetings with Kushner and their perceptions of his vulnerabilities were raised.
  116. On Tuesday, Axios reported senior communications official Josh Raffel resigned from the White House. Raffel was a point person internally for Kushner and Ivanka.
  117. Last fall, Raffel was promoted to deputy communications director and worked closely with Hope Hicks. His departure comes as the Muellerprobe intensifies, and Kushner’s security clearance was revoked.
  118. On Tuesday, Hope Hicks spent nine hours behind closed doors testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. Hicks would only answer questions about her time on the campaign, and a limited amount about the transition.
  119. NYT reported that Hicks acknowledged to lawmakers that her work for Trump sometimes requires her to tell “white lies,” but claimed she did not lie to Mueller about the Russia investigation and links to Trump associates.
  120. On Wednesday, Hope Hicks resigned as White House communications director. Hicks was one of Trump’s longest-serving, and one of his most loyal advisers. Hicks was Trump’s fourth communications director.
  121. On Wednesday, CNN’s Erin Burnett reported that according to one of Trump’s close allies, Trump berated Hicks after her House Intelligence Committee hearing where she revealed she was sometimes required to tell “white lies.”
  122. On Wednesday, Trump attacked Sessions again, tweeting why is Sessions“asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse…..Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!”
  123. For the first time, Sessions responded in a statement, saying he acted appropriately referring the case, and the DOJ “will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution.”
  124. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump referred to Sessions as “Mr. Magoo,” the bumbling cartoon character. Trump is also complaining to associates that Sessions isn’t defending him to the best of his abilities.
  125. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Mueller is investigating Trump’s efforts to fire Sessions last July, and whether the goal was to pick a replacement who would exercise control over the probe into Trump-Russia coordination.
  126. Mueller’s team is also investigating Trump’s effort to fire Sessions in the spring of 2017. Mueller is examining whether the firing is part of a pattern of attempted obstruction, by changing the direction of the Russia probe.
  127. On Wednesday, WAPO reported aides for Trump keep folders on Republicans who have criticized Trump. When Sen. Bob Corker reconsidered running in 2018, Trump aides reminded him to not fully support Corker.
  128. On Thursday, NBC News reported McMaster will be leaving the White House as early as next month, in a move supposedly orchestrated by John Kelly and James Mattis. This would be the second NSA to leave the Trump regime.
  129. McMaster is a widely respected military general. He has clashed repeatedly with Trump, most recently in Week 66 when McMaster said at the German conference that Russian interference is “incontrovertible.”
  130. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported that many mid- and low-level White House staffers viewed loyalist Hicks’ resignation as a tipping point, and are actively looking for jobs. The White House has an atmosphere of low morale.
  131. Also causing frustration is Trump going rogue on issues like gun control and tariffs, breaking with GOP positions. Although Trump values loyalty above all else, many Trump loyalist have left or are trying to leave.
  132. On Thursday, CNN reported the tumult of recent days has left Trump seething with anger. Although Trump is trying to change the subject, allies of Trump’s describe a sense of “meltdown” at the White House.
  133. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump is isolated and angry, and carries a bitter feud with Sessions, lashing out with a vitriol that is stunning members of his staff. Trump calls Sessions’ recusal the “original sin.”
  134. NYT reported White House morale has sunk to a new low. Kelly reportedly joked about his move to the White House from the Department of Homeland Security: “God punished me.”
  135. NYT also reported that aides claim while Trump has told Kushner and Ivanka that they should stay and keep serving in their roles, he has also privately asked Kelly for his help in moving them out.
  136. On Thursday, despite it not being on his schedule as of 9 p.m. the night before, Trump summoned business leaders in the steel and aluminum industries for what was described as a listening session.
  137. Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser, had warned Trump not to impose tariffs, and had said he would resign if Trump did so. Trump did not actually listen to industry leaders, instead he mostly talked.
  138. At the end of the session, in a populist move seemingly designed to appeal to his base, Trump announced he would impose long-term tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum, without a White House legal review. TheDJIA plunged roughly 500 points after Trump made his announcement.
  139. This marked the second time this week — gun control and tariffs — that Trump had, without notice, broken from GOP traditional positions. Republicans spoke out publicly against him, especially on tariffs.
  140. Thursday evening, after meeting with Trump and Pence in the Oval Office, Chris Cox, an NRA lobbyist, tweeted that Trump had backed off from his Wednesday support for gun control measures.
  141. Trump acknowledged the same, tweeting an hour later at 10 p.m., “Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!.”
  142. Trump was widely criticized by conservatives and conservative media forcomments at the gun control meeting with lawmakers, when he said “take the guns first, go through due process second.”
  143. Think Progress reported Trump ally Carl Icahn sold off his $31.3 million stake in Manitowoc Company, a company heavily dependent on steel to manufacture its products, a week before Trump’s decision on tariffs.
  144. On Friday, Electrolux, Europe’s largest home appliance maker, said it would delay a planned $250 million investment in Tennessee, citing Trump’s tariff hike could cause a “pretty significant” hike in steel prices.
  145. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Anthony Scaramucci is on the White House “exclusion list” for entrance. Scaramucci believes Kelly is behind the move, “Does the president want to lose everyone because of General Jackass?”
  146. McClatchy reported Sen. Bill Nelson, the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, called on Twitter to explain how imposter accounts undermined the Miami Herald and inflamed the public after Parkland.
  147. Of concern is that Russia-linked accounts and propaganda which influenced the 2016 election are still here, and are attempting to discredit established media and sow public alarm and discord.
  148. On Thursday, in a Twitter thread, CEO Jack Dorsey said his platform is in many ways, broken, adding Twitter “didn’t fully predict or understand the real-world negative consequences.” Dorsey confessed Twitter’s failures, and said the company is rethinking everything.
  149. On Friday, in a scathing op-ed on Kushner, the NYT Editorial Board cited Kushner’s bad advice, shady deals, and incompetence, and as a lesson learned called for firming up the anti-nepotism law.
  150. On Friday, AP reported the Trump regime awarded the first border wall construction contract to SWF Constructors, a tiny Nebraska-based offshoot of Edgewood, New York-based Coastal Environmental Group.
  151. It is unclear why SWF was listed on the bid. Coastal is a construction company that has been sued repeatedly for failing to pay subcontractors, and was accused of shady billing practices in a 2016 government audit.
  152. Following Alec’s Baldwin’s interview in the Hollywood Reporter on Thursday about how impersonating Trump on SNL is “agony,” on Friday, Trump took to Twitter at 5:42 a.m. to attack Baldwin.
  153. In the tweet, which was deleted, Trump misspelled “dying” and mistyped Baldwin’s name as “Alex.” Trump tweeted Baldwin’s “dying mediocre career was saved by his terrible impersonation of me,” adding “it was agony for those who were forced to watch.”
  154. On Friday, Baldwin replied, tweeting, “Agony though it may be, I’d like to hang in there for the impeachment hearings, the resignation speech…You know. The Good Stuff. That we’ve all been waiting for.”
  155. Companies continued to distance themselves from the NRA and take a harder line against guns, raising the age to buy weapons, and limiting what they sell. Companies include Dicks, Walmart, Kroger, and REI.
  156. After Delta cuts ties with the NRA in Week 67, the Georgia legislature voted to pull a jet-fuel tax break the company enjoyed from a tax bill, Delta’s CEO said Friday, “Our values are not for sale.”
  157. On Saturday, CNN reported Trump hit a milestone having spent 100 days in office at one of his golf clubs at taxpayers’ expense. In total, Trump has spent nearly 1 in 4 of his days in office at one of his golf clubs.
  158. On Saturday, Trump will host a campaign fundraiser for his 2020 run at Mar-a-Lago. Tickets start at $2,700, with $25,000 and $50,000 options.
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On a street pole in New York City. 2018.
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Message from the people in NYC. 2018.
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Suffice it to say, he’s not a well-liked dictator in New York City. 2018.
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NEW YORK CITY: RAINY DAYS & SUNDAYS…

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It rained all day. This is in the East Village by Think Coffee. A nice sticker post on the left.
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A man waits for his friend in front of a Fumeroism mural in the East Village.
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West Village off Bleecker Street.
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In midtown Manhattan, passersby…The Primate having a slice in the rain.
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In Chinatown, a wheat paste of ODB by Barcelona, Spain’s COLP ONE.
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Graffiti on a shop gate in the Bowery.
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A new mural in progress by legendary artist CRASH, in Chinatown. 
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The primate reminding this guy to stay within the crosswalk in the West Village.
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Frida. East Village.
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It wouldn’t be New York City without graffiti on a delivery truck…and cool graffiti, at that!
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Might need some repairs before it’s street ready again…
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LOVE ME and hose me, if I catch on fire…
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Chinatown.
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If you were unaware, J Law has a new movie coming out in March. The entire city’s been put on notice. And damn it all, if I don’t want to see it. You win, Red Sparrow marketing, you win. This one is in Chinatown.
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Chilean architect/artist Otto Schade, currently based in London, put up an anti-gun mural in Chinatown.
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Who wants Peking Duck? Chinatown. 

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An old Ai Wei Wei stencil by artist B.D. White, in Soho.
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The Primate of Urban Decay…

11feb18 New York City

NEW YORK CITY: THROUGH A CAGE

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This pic and the pic below it, are of “Gilded Cage” by Ai Wei Wei for his public installation project “Good Fences make Good Neighbors” occurring throughout the city. The project is a passionate response to the global migration crisis and the “profound social and political impulse to divide people from each other.” This piece is located in Central Park.

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Snow Day in Chelsea, Manhattan.
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Jennifer Lawrence is beginning to take over the city in ads for her new movie, “Red Sparrow,” coming out in March.
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107th Infantry Memorial in Central Park.

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Union General Tecumseh Sherman Monument at Grand Army Plaza in Central Park.

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Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti” album is a photograph of a New York City tenement block located at 96 and 98 St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. This is a closeup of one of the original faces on the building block. It has been painted, but was originally the same color as the building.

2018. New York City.

NEW YORK CITY STREET ART: LOVE, LOSS, AND LONGING by B.D. WHITE

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“She Was Magnificent”
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“I Asked for Peace”

30jan18. On the Wall of “Bar Primi” in the Bowery. For the L.I.S.A. Project. At the corner of Joey Ramone Place. East Village, NYC. 

NEW YORK CITY STREET ART: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

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An adapted image of the infamous ‘Kathy Griffin holding a Donald Trump head,’ now with Harvey Weinstein, an alleged rapist and serial abuser of power. Street art makes statements whether you like it or not. By NYC-based street artist: SACSIX Location: First Street Green Park in the East Village, NYC.
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A man chills with a coffee, a cigarette, and his phone on 1st Street in the East Village.

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A Christmas-themed City Kitty wheatpaste still going strong (Jan 29) in the East Village.

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A sticker-covered utility box in Freeman’s Alley on the Lower East Side, NYC.
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Belgian artist ROA’s classic bird piece still going strong in the East Village.
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Street artist Russell King with a wood piece on a street sign in the East Village.

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Street life around The Cube, a.k.a. “Alamo” at Astor Place.
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A graffiti-covered delivery truck making its way on St. Marks Place, heading towards a park with snow-covered trees.  
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Birds by DALeast on St. Marks Place in the East Village.
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The Empire State Building

jan/feb 2018 – New York City, NY

NEW YORK CITY: BELONG? LOVED? REJECTED?

“Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.” ― Roman Payne

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James A. Farley Post Office Building. Opened in 1914.

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On the left, trump International Hotel and Tower. In the center: 30-ft silver globe.

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“Diabetic Awareness through Art” by AppletonPictures.

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Artist: DAIN
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Chinatown
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Artist: Jerkface

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17nov17. New York City, NY

NEW YORK CITY STREET ART: ROBOT LADY OF LEISURE by PIXEL PANCHO

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Pixel Pancho is a renowned street artist from Turin, Italy. 

16nov17. Chelsea, NYC. 10th Ave & 22nd St.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 51: “YOU F***ED URSELVES”

Check out Amy Siskind’s weekly FACT list and my photos of graffiti around New York City depicting the sad state of USA politics, below:

Week 50 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

October 28, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-50-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-8e5b958887dc

The feelings of anxiety and fear amid continued chaos and eroding norms were palpable in this second-consecutive, record-setting week. The Trump regime continued their attacks on rights and protections, while the Republican Party split deepened after a historic anti-Trump/save our country speech by Senator Jeff Flake.

The week closed with the unexpected news that the Mueller probe has produced its first results: charges filed in federal court. The news provided the first relief, and possible accountability after unending news of corruption, incompetence and kleptocracy. The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico worsened amid news of an insider-deal and cover-ups, as Trump continued to turn a blind eye of indifference.

  1. Axios reported Trump pledged to spend at least $430k of his own money to pay some of the legal bills for WH staff due to the Russia investigation. The RNC has paid roughly $430k to cover Trump’s and Donald Jr.’s lawyers.
  2. Reuters reported Canada is granting asylum to people who fear being deported by Trump. More than 15K people crossed the U.S.-Canadian border to claim refugee status this year. Many were in the US legally.
  3. The US Air Force responded to Trump’s executive order in Week 49 which allows them to recall retired pilots, saying the Air Force did not know about it in advance and does not “currently intend to recall retired pilots.”
  4. Defense One reported the Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.
  5. On Sunday, on the same day the Kremlin added him to the Interpol list, the State Dept revoked a visa for British citizen Bill Browder, a hedge fund manager turned human rights activist responsible for the Magnitsky Act.
  6. On Monday night, the US cleared Browder to enter. The explanation given anonymously by a Trump regime member is the initial action blocking had been taken automatically in response to an Interpol notice filed by Russia.
  7. Veselnitskaya detailed the Kremlin’s gripes with Browder in a memo she brought to the June 9 meeting with Donald Jr., Kushner and Manafort.
  8. POLITICO reported that four officials at three different federal agencies are doing substantially similar work to the position for which they have been nominated, despite not having been confirmed yet.
  9. Atlantic reported Trump is rush-shipping condolences to Gold Star families following his false claim he had called “virtually all” of the families. Four families received next-day UPS letters from Trump.
  10. McCain took a swipe at Trump on C-SPAN3 saying those “at the highest income level” avoided the draft by finding a doctor who “would say that they had a bone spur.”
  11. The women of the Congressional Black Caucus demanded Kelly apologize to Rep Wilson, citing the Sun Sentinel video which shows Kelly’s public statement in Week 49 was false.
  12. On Monday, Myeshia Johnson told “Good Morning America” Trump “made me cry even worse.” She also said she didn’t like Trump’s tone, and that she broke down when Trump fumbled her husband’s name.
  13. Trump tweeted immediately after her interview, refuting Myeshia, “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!”
  14. On Wednesday, Trump again said Myeshia’s recollection is incorrect, telling reporters he did say La David Johnson’s name, and he has “one of the great memories of all time.”
  15. DeVos’s Education Department rescinded 72 special education policy documents that outline the rights of students with disabilities, saying the guidelines were “outdated, unnecessary or ineffective.”
  16. Anti-Semitic posters which read, “Just Say No to Jewish Lies!” and “Join the White Gang” adorned with swastika, were found on Cornell University’s campus and Collegetown.
  17. The NAACP issued a travel advisory for African Americans who fly on American Airlines. The group cited a disturbing pattern of black passengers being removed from flights and other troublesome conduct.
  18. Georgia Rep Betty Price, wife of former HHS Secretary Price, in a study committee asked if the government could “quarantine” people with HIV.
  19. In a meeting of NFL owners and league executives regarding player protests, Texans owner Robert McNair said of the players, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” He later apologized.
  20. A post-it which read, “JEWS WILL BURN” was left on the locker of a Jewish sixth grade student at Middlebrook School in Wilton, CT, one of several recent anti-Semitic incidents at the school.
  21. White supremacist group Identity Evropa hung flyers across Rutgers University campuses which read, “Our Generation. Our Future. Our Last Chance.” The group’s founder has close ties to Richard Spencer.
  22. Mahway, NJ proposed rules aimed at barring Orthodox Jews from moving in. A complaint by the state AG cited “1950s-era white flight suburbanites who sought to keep African-Americans” out from their communities.
  23. Viviana Andazola Marquez, a senior at Yale, wrote while bringing her father, who works and raised four children, for a final interview with Immigration Services, he was detained and faces deportation proceedings.
  24. Rosa Maria Hernandez, a 10 year-old Mexican girl with cerebral palsy, is potentially facing deportation after going through a Border Patrol checkpoint in South Texas to get emergency gallbladder surgery.
  25. On Wednesday, the immigrant teen known as “Jane Doe” was able to terminate her pregnancy. The ACLU said this is part of the Trump regime’s efforts to drastically restricts abortion access for minors in their custody.
  26. Scott Lloyd, head of Office of Refugee Resettlement, has tried to block abortions for teens in custody. WSJ reported his work is part of a broader push by the Trump regime “to deliver socially conservative policies.
  27. At a House hearing Thursday, Lloyd refused to answer many questions posed by Democrats who charged he had overstepped his expertise and authority in his dealing with female detainees.
  28. In the wake of numerous men in high-profile positions being accused of sexual misconduct, when asked about Trump at a press briefing, Sanders said all the women who accused Trump of sexual harassment are lying.
  29. Trump’s EPA canceled speaking appearance of three agency scientists scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference in RI. The cancelations highlight concern the EPA will silence government scientists.
  30. CBC reported Kelly Craft, the new US ambassador to Canada, says she believes “both sides” of the climate change science.
  31. Trump’s FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, announced a vote in November to rollback regulations passed in 1975 which bans media cross-ownership of newspaper, radio and television at the local level to protect consumers.
  32. Pai’s move comes as Trump ally Sinclair Broadcasting seeks to acquire Tribune Media. The combined company would reach 72% of households.
  33. AP reported a computer server crucial to a lawsuit against Georgia election officials in Week 34 was quietly wiped clean by the Center for Elections Systems at Kennesaw State University just after the suit was filed.
  34. Cummings again called on Gowdy to sign on to a request for documents from Kushner and Ivanka on their use of private email accounts, saying if he doesn’t, the House Oversight Comm should vote on issuing subpoenas.
  35. WAPO reported GEO Group, a giant private-prison company, switched the venue for its annual leadership conference to Trump National Doral.
  36. GEO Group gave $250K to a Trump super PAC, and hired two former aides of Sessions and a Trump fundraiser as outside lobbyists. The company’s stock has tripled since Obama said he would phase out private prisons.
  37. Donald Jr. tweeted a photo of him on stage with his father: “Great time with @realDonaldTrump in Texas.” The two are supposed to maintain a firewall between them as Donald Jr. co-manages the family businesses.
  38. The GAO will probe the Election Integrity Commission’s funding, internal operations and how it is protects and sorts voter files. The probe comes as three Democratic senators said the commission had ignored their requests.
  39. On Thursday, at a speech at the Heritage Foundation, Sessions scolded federal judges who have ruled against or criticized the Trump regime, saying, “co-equal branches of government ought to respect one another.”
  40. Sessions also said that religious expression overrides civil rights laws, saying the First Amendment guarantees “that includes the freedom not to create expression for ceremonies that violate one’s religious beliefs.”
  41. FiveThirtyEight reported under Trump and Sessions, 70% of the tables from the FBI’s “Crime in the United States,” a report considered the gold standard for tracking crime statistics, have been taken offline.
  42. Former Trump WH aide Gorka told Fox News Trump’s former political opponent Hillary Clinton should be tried for treason and executed, saying Uranium One is the equivalent of the espionage of the Rosenbergs in 1951.
  43. CNN reported Trump made it clear to the State Dept he wants to accelerate the release of any remaining Hillary emails in its possession.
  44. Trump has also called on the DOJ to lift the gag order on an undercover FBI informant who played a critical role in an FBI investigation into Russian efforts to gain influence in the US uranium industry.
  45. Trump has yet to implement Russian sanctions from legislation signed August 2, after being approved by an overwhelming majority in the Hose and Senate. The deadline to implement was October 1.
  46. Foreign Policy reported Tillerson shuttered the State Dept’s Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office, which oversees sanctions policy, as part of an overhaul of the department.
  47. On Friday, the Trump regime, facing vociferous public criticism, started to rollout Russian sanctions on a very limited basis: the State Dept listed 39 Russian companies and government organizations to be sanctioned.
  48. NYT reported China’s Xi has succeeded in positioning China as a responsible power by stepping up when Trump has failed, citing speaking up for globalization at Davos and the Paris Climate Accord.
  49. WSJ reported Trump almost deported fugitive businessman Guo Wengui after receiving a letter from the Chinese government, hand-delivered by Steve Wynn, the Republican National Committee finance chairman.
  50. Trump allegedly said to his secretary: “Where’s the letter that Steve brought? We need to get this criminal out of the country.” Wynn’s Macau casino empire cannot operate without a license from the Chinese territory.
  51. Washington Times reported at a meeting this spring, Sessions threatened to resign if the Trump regime deported Guo Wengui.
  52. On Wednesday, Trump called to congratulate China’s Xi, as Xi asserted his absolute supremacy over China’s one-party state, calling it an “extraordinary elevation,” and comparing Xi to a “king.”
  53. Reuters reported that after Trump’s abrupt decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, European leaders are nervous. No longer is there confidence Europe can muddle through three more years without disruptions.
  54. On Wednesday, Trump blamed the generals for Niger ambush. In Week 16, Trump also blamed the generals for a SEAL killed in the failed Yemen raid.
  55. Trump repeatedly referred to “my generals” and “my military.” This reference has angered many in the military who believe the reference suggests Trump’s sense of ownership over the country’s armed forces.
  56. In an interview with Fox Business Network, Trump relished in his ability to diminish the press, I “really started this whole fake news thing,” adding “I’m so proud that I have been able to convince people how fake it is.”
  57. WAPO reported lawmakers in both parties are expressing frustration on the inability to accomplish anything with Trump. Lawmakers consider him “untrustworthy, chronically inconsistent and easily distracted.”
  58. A Fox News poll showed Trump’s approval falling to a new low of 38%. Trump is losing support from white men without a college degree (68% last month to 56%) and white evangelical Christians (74% to 66%).
  59. NYT listed the 382 people, places and things Trump has insulted on Twitter since he declared his candidacy.
  60. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported Alexander Nix, head of Cambridge Analytica, reached out to WikiLeaks founder Assange for help finding and then publicly releasing Hillary’s 33k deleted emails.
  61. In response to Daily Beast reporting, Assange provided this statement: “We can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.”
  62. Late Wednesday, Michael Glassner, Trump campaign executive director, issued a statement seeking to distance the campaign from Cambridge Analytica. The Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica $5.9mm.
  63. On Friday, the WSJ reported Trump donor Rebekah Mercer reached out to Nix on August 26, 2016 to ask whether Cambridge Analytica could better organize the Hillary-related emails being released by WikiLeaks.
  64. WSJ reported Nix’s outreach to Assange came before his company began working for the Trump campaign in July. U.S. intelligence determined the emails were stolen by Russian intelligence and given to WikiLeaks.
  65. The Senate Intel Comm sought and received materials from the estate of Peter W. Smith. which could help determine whether Smith was working with members of the Trump campaign to obtain Hillary’s missing emails.
  66. BuzzFeed reported Russian troll farm Internet Research Agency also used Instagram to exploit divisions and social movements.
  67. Michael Cohen met privately with House and Senate intelligence panels as part of their investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Cohen is still expected to testify publicly later this year.
  68. Daily Beast reported that due to concern over Rohrabacher’s ties to Russia, the House Comm on Foreign Affairs placed heightened restrictions on his trips abroad, committee money for travel, and hearings he can hold.
  69. Tatyana Felgenhaeur, a Russian radio journalist, was stabbed in the throat by an attacker who burst into her studio. There has been a string of attacks against journalists and opposition activists in Moscow.
  70. British lawmakers asked Facebook to provide information on any ads purchased by Russian-linked accounts around June’s general election and last year’s Brexit referendum.
  71. The Senate Judiciary Comm ended its bipartisan investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice or colluded with Russia. Republicans and Democrats saying they will now conduct separate probes.
  72. Daily Beast reported just three of the 13 Republican members of the House Intel Comm regularly attend when Trump-Russia witnesses are grilled behind closed doors. The three participate in a very limited way.
  73. Republicans on the committee are instead focused in other areas. Nunes is working with Reps DeSantis and King, not on the committee, to probe an Obama-era uranium deal which Trump has repeatedly promoted.
  74. Former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul compared the recycling of the uranium deal to classic whataboutism, perfected by the Kremlin.
  75. Nunes said he “would prefer” reporters stop saying he recused himself from the Russia probe, even though, in Week 21, he recused himself from the Russia probe.
  76. Twitter banned ads from Russia state-owned news outlets RT and Sputnik. The Kremlin said it would respond, saying the move flouted international and domestic laws on free speech
  77. WSJ reported the Manhattan US attorney’s office is pursuing an investigation of Manafort for possible money-laundering. The investigation is being conducted in collaboration with Mueller’s probe.
  78. At the same time, the Brooklyn US attorney’s office is pursuing an inquiry involving Kushner Cos. Trump has interviewed, and is said to be close to nominating, candidates to lead both the Manhattan and Brooklyn offices.
  79. Among those interviewed are Geoffrey Berman, who is a law partner of Rudy Giuliani at Greenberg Traurig LLP., and Edward McNally, a law partner of Marc Kasowitz at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman LLP.
  80. POLITICO reported the realtor who helped Manafort buy the Alexandria apartment recently raided by the FBI, testified before a grand jury in the Mueller’s Russia probe, after efforts by the realtor to quash the subpoena.
  81. NYT reported records show Veselnitskaya was working on behalf of the Kremlin when she met with Donald Jr. and others on June 9. This undercuts her account she was working as an independent actor.
  82. On Friday, Carter Page met with the Senate Intel Comm for more than five hour in a closed session. Asked by NBC News whether he answered all the committee’s questions, Page responded, “Thanks, have a great day.”
  83. Dana Boente, a 33-year veteran of the DOJ, abruptly announced his resignation as US attorney for the Eastern District of VA on Thursday. Boente is serving as acting asst AG of the National Security Division.
  84. In a statement, former CIA director Woolsey said he and his wife have been in communication with the FBI regarding his knowledge of former NSA Flynn. Woolsey also claims he is getting smeared.
  85. Late Friday, CNN reported the first charges have been filed in the Mueller investigation. The charges are sealed. Plans were made Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday. Reuters confirmed.
  86. WAPO reported Whitefish Energy, a two-year-old company with 2 full-time employees, signed a $300mm no-bid contract, the biggest yet in Puerto Rico, to repair and reconstruct the island’s electrical infrastructure.
  87. Whitefish Energy is located in Whitefish, Montana, and its owner Andy Techmanski is friends with Sec Interior Zinke. One of Zinke’s sons had a summer job with Techmanski. Zinke said he played no role in the contract.
  88. On Wednesday, Puerto Rico’s installed an emergency manager at the island’s utility. Sen Murkowski said her Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold hearings. House committees are investigating too.
  89. Five weeks after Maria hit, just 25% of Puerto Rico has electricity. San Juan Mayor Cruz expressed her frustration about the Whitefish contract and lack of progress on CNN. She also tweeted to request transparency.
  90. In response, Whitefish Energy tweeted a threat to halt work to the Mayor: “We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?”
  91. Later Wednesday, Whitefish Energy tweeted an apology to the Mayor Cruz and everyone in Puerto Rico.
  92. A copy of the Whitefish Energy deal documents surfaced Friday, revealing as part of the contract, the government is not allowed to “audit or review the cost and profit elements” for how the company spends the $300MM.
  93. On Friday, Zinke and the WH sought to distance themselves from Whitefish Energy. Press Sec Sanders said Trump had personally asked Zinke about the deal, which he claimed to know nothing about.
  94. Zinke claimed Whitefish Energy contacted him at the Interior Dept, but in a statement he said the contact occurred only after the company had won the contract with PREPA. The contract was no-bid.
  95. Puerto Rico reported at least 76 cases of suspected and confirmed leptospirosis, including a handful of deaths, caused by contaminated water. Almost a quarter of Puerto Ricans are still without drinking water.
  96. Vox reported the nation’s largest nurses union condemned the federal government’s emergency response in Puerto Rico, saying millions are suffering and accusing the government of leaving people to die.
  97. Nurses cited perilous conditions: doctors performing surgery with light from their cellphones, children screaming from hunger, elderly residents suffering severe dehydration, black mold throughout entire communities.
  98. BuzzFeed reported funeral homes and crematoriums in Puerto Rico are burning the dead. Communication between the central institute certifying official hurricane deaths is broken, so these deaths are not being counted.
  99. BuzzFeed later reported the Puerto Rican government allowed 911 bodies to be cremated without medical examinations to determine if they should be included in the official death toll.
  100. On Tuesday morning, Corker and Trump escalated their battle. Corker said Trump was “debasing” the country with his “untruths,” “name-calling” and “attempted bullying.”
  101. Trump responded in a series of tweets, calling Corker a “lightweight,” who “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee.” Trump also falsely claimed that Corker helped Obama “give us the bad Iran Deal.”
  102. Corker responded in a tweet of his own: “Same untruths from an utterly untruthful president. #AlertTheDaycareStaff”
  103. Trump responded again on Twitter, calling Corker an “incompetent head of the Foreign Relations Committee,” and saying people like “liddle’ Bob Corker have set the U.S. way back.”
  104. Corker responded, telling CNN on supporting Trump that he “would not do that again,” and said Trump has “great difficulty with the truth.”
  105. Same day, Trump attended a lunch with Republican senators, and tweeted how well it went, claiming he received, “multiple standing ovations!
  106. As Trump entered the Republican lunch, a protestor threw Russian flags at him and yelled, “Trump is treason.” The protestor was arrested.
  107. On Tuesday afternoon, Sen Flake gave an impassioned, historical speech on the Senate floor, and said he would not be seeking re-election. He also wrote an op-ed titled, “Enough,” saying it is time to stand up to Trump.
  108. Flake cautioned against “the new normal,” and said, “we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue” set by Trump, including “the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals.”
  109. On foreign policy, Flake said “the efficacy of American leadership around the globe has come into question,” and cautioned, “Despotism loves a vacuum. And our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership.”
  110. Flake also criticized Trump for normalizing lies: “calling fake things true and true things fake,” and called Trump’s behavior “reckless, outrageous, and undignified,” and “dangerous to our democracy.”
  111. Flake appealed to his fellow Republicans, saying the pivot to governing by Trump is not coming, and “when the next generation asks us, why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say?”
  112. After Flake’s speech, his fellow Arizona senator McCain took the Senate floor to honor his friend, “When Flake’s service to the Senate is reviewed it will be one of honor, of brilliance, of patriotism, of love of country.”
  113. On Wednesday, Trump continued his attacks on Corker and Flake on Twitter. He also tweeted two more times about the standing ovations.
  114. In a 51–50 vote with Pence as tie-breaker, the Senate voted to end consumers’ right to file class-action suits against financial firms, a step to dismantling the Obama-era Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  115. Trump’s USDA withdrew an Obama-era rule which would have made it easier for independent farmers to bring lawsuits against big food companies, on the day before it was set to take effect.
  116. US Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown is under investigation by the State Depart for making inappropriate comments during a Peace Corp event in Samoa. Brown blamed it on people at the event not liking Trump.
  117. Bloomberg reported at least a quarter of the pipes used in the Keystone XL pipeline came from a Russian steel company whose biggest shareholder is a Russian oligarch and Trump family friend, Roman Abramovich.
  118. Foreign steel imports are up 24% in 2017. More than 60 steelworkers met with Congress in September to tell them of their growing frustration with the WH delays. Wilbur Ross said the regime is focused on tax reform.
  119. On Friday, Trump tweeted an attack on Tom Steyer, calling him “Wacky & totally unhinged.” Steyer, a California billionaire activist, launched a $10MM national ad campaign calling for Trump’s impeachment.
  120. After pledging to release JFK records as required early Thursday, and Trump bragging about it on Twitter, the Trump regime flubbed the release resulting in only a partial release of records late Thursday.
  121. A federal judge who oversaw the collection of government documents on JFK’s assassination called Trump’s handling of the release “disappointing,” citing so many of the records have been held back for review.
  122. On Thursday, Trump declared the US opioid abuse a national public health emergency in a speech. The formal declaration came more than two months after Trump initially said he would do so on August 10 (Week 39).
  123. Trump pledged no new money to combat opioid abuse, but offered instead an advertising campaign with a slogan, “Just Say No” — a concept which has had little success in the past.
  124. Information on the Niger ambush continued to slowly trickle out. Democrats on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees complained the Pentagon has not been forthcoming enough.
  125. McClatchy reported Michael Cohen netted close to $20MM by selling real estate properties well-above market value to mysterious buyer. Experts say such deals are red flags of money laundering.
  126. In 2014, a buyer using a LLC bought a property from Cohen for $10MM in cash that Cohen had paid just $2MM for three years prior. Three other properties in the same time-frame followed a similar pattern.
  127. On Friday, Trump gave Halloween candy to kids at the WH. Trump told one young girl: “Well, you have no weight problems, that’s the good news, right? So you take out whatever you need.”
  128. Anna Wintour said Trump won’t be invited back to the Met Gala. Trump has been a regular at the fundraiser since the 1980s.
  129. On Friday, Trump released a promotional video — “Big announcement next week!” — on Instagram, ahead of this Fed Chair announcement.
  130. On Saturday, 200 white nationalists carried a Confederate flag and chanting for closed borders and deportations in Shelbyville, TN. The rally is one of two expected in TN. The rally also drew counter-protestors.

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NEW YORK CITY: PERMANENTLY CONFUSED

“Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.” ― George Saunders

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25oct17. Lower East Side, NYC